Dangerous Sales Messages and Cereal Commercials

I would rather my daughter watch violent movies than the children’s cereal commercials I grew up with.

At least the violent movies are honest about their message.

Do you remember the classic 1980s and 1990s cereal commercials? Cute little cartoon characters with funny little taglines.

“Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids.”
“They’re always after me Lucky Charms.”

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A good marketing or sales message solves a problem that the audience has. The easiest way to know what problem the audience has is to give them the problem. An effective commercial will create the world in which you need their product.

Think of the infomercial where a person opens their kitchen cabinet and an avalanche of storage containers falls on them. Then they offer you a much more efficient set of storage containers.

Never in my life have I opened a kitchen cabinet and had a thousand containers fall on me, but as I watch the infomercial, I am thinking that maybe I should get their storage solution because they’ve drawn me into a world where such problems happen.

Remember the Fruity Pebbles commercials of the 90s?

Fred and Barney are supposed to be best friends, yet the theme of every single ad is that Barney is trying to steal Fred’s cereal.

What’s the moral lesson of this story? If you have something you like enough, then you keep it all to yourself and never share.

How about Trix?

“Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids.”

“Silly person whose not like us, you don’t deserve the good things that we have.”

Only the people in the privileged class (kids) deserve the best things (Trix). The conceit of the ad is built on the same philosophical underpinnings as segregation laws.

Now you see why I’d be more comfortable with my daughter watching John Wick than an old cereal commercial.

At least the moral lesson of John Wick is about love and loyalty, not racism and selfishness.

It’s not just cereal commercials

World building is a powerful part of any sales or marketing message, and it is as dangerous as it is powerful.

Think of the events in the coaching industry, the ones built around giving you knowledge as a way to draw you in to make an offer.

There’s nothing wrong with this format, just like there’s nothing wrong with a TV commercial, but where it becomes problematic is when the world created is not entirely accurate.

If you’re attending an event like this, it is likely because you think the host knows something worth learning. So, if they teach you that rapid action is the key to success, and they are successful, you’ll internalize that idea that rapid action is good.

But what if they are only teaching this so that you’ll take rapid action to buy their program.

How about if they teach you that worrying about risk is overrated, and that taking massive risks with limited research is the path to riches?

But they are teaching this because they want you to think less of the risk of buying their program.

Maybe you don’t buy into their program, but you adjust your risk tolerance based on what this expert taught you and you mortgage your house to buy into some risky scheme and lose it all.

The advice wasn’t actually good advice, but was simply advice meant to compel you to a particular self-serving course of action.

Always being in integrity

After 25 years of studying sales, I can sniff out when someone has crafted their lesson to “teach” me what I need to know to make the decision they want me to make.

When this happens, I learn that I cannot trust a single word out of their mouth. If they are always selling and always closing, then when are they truly teaching?

If their lessons are built around pushing me to buy the next program, can I trust them to ever stop selling if I do buy in?

The way we do one thing is the way we do everything, right?

It’s okay to plant seeds in a sales process, but it’s not okay to turn your event into a jungle of manipulation.

What’s the right way?

The reason that people sell this way is that it works. They get you in for three days, live or online, draw you into their world, and after all that time, your reality is shifted enough that you’re ready to make decisions you wouldn’t other.

Unfortunately, if you don’t end up buying, then you leave with your reality warped, not shifted.

The better way is to approach the situation with the primary desire to serve, teach, and support.

The better way is to go into your event with the primary intention that every, single person who has trusted you with their time (and possibly money) will leave that event better for having met you whether or not they buy anything.

The better way is to share the best of what you know and who you are and trust that the right people will be attracted to work with you.

What Would You Choose? Is A Million Right?

Recently, I saw this image on Facebook…

Being a know-it-all, I assumed I know the “right” answer.

I shared my thoughts, and invited the thoughts of others, and discovered that I did find the right answer for me, but that it’s dependent on where one is in life.

My initial thought was that the $1,000,000 was the right way to go. With the 50/50 shot had a 50% chance of getting nothing, and the money, effectively deployed, could create massive traveling opportunities and give me the chance to hang out with whoever I wanted.

On further reflection, I’ve found that each choice is correct at a certain place in life.

$1 million in cash

This is a great choice… if you have the knowledge and discipline to use it correctly.

With that kind of money, you have money to pay the bills for long enough to effectively deploy the rest of the cash to develop additional assets.

However, there are some people for whom this would be a terrible choice.

If your thought is “I want a million bucks because I could buy a house and a car and take a vacation,” then you shouldn’t choose this.

Why? Because you want to buy liabilities.

When the money is spent, you’ll find yourself worse off than before. That house will need maintenance and incur taxes. The car will cost taxes and require maintenance.

Likewise, if you already have over a million dollars in assets, then the million is just your next million.

50% Chance of Winning $200,000,000

A comment from a real estate investor friend made me realize the value of this choice. His worth is over a million dollars, so a million dollars would just be another million.

If he lost this bet, he’d still be in good shape, and if he won it, it would take him straight to the next level.

On the other hand, for someone who doesn’t have wealth, the downside risk doesn’t make sense.

Hang Out With The Richest Person on Earth for Three Years

If you know what to do with a million dollars, then you could leverage that into increasing wealth and it would give you the opportunity to hang out with whomever you want.

However, if you’re still in the place where you think about buying liabilities rather than assets with the money, spending time with the rich person would teach you how to use money to create wealth rather than to get things.

One person commented that they’d want to be paid to hang out with the rich person, which completely missed the point. People waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to get “education” at college, but they wouldn’t take the opportunity to get the massive opportunity of hanging out with the right people for free.

Heck, if you have the opportunity to carry the bags of a billionaire in exchange for hanging out with them and no pay, that’s still a fantastic deal.

Lifetime of Traveling For Free

At first I thought this one didn’t fit. I thought it was a wrong choice, but I recognized two scenarios in which this would make sense.

The first is for someone who is very young and immature. If you are not in a place where you would recognize or appreciate what the rich person could teach you, the travel gives you the opportunity to develop that maturity.

The other is someone who is just done. Life has beaten you down so much that you just want to go on vacation forever.

This is the one of the four options that does not directly lead to the next level of opportunity. However, it makes sense for someone who either isn’t prepared to receive and leverage the other three, or someone for whom this is the final step they’re seeking.

What do you think?

Do you agree with this reasoning?

What would you choose?

Networking: Is the the Plane or the Pilot?

In Top Gun: Maverick (one of the best movies of the decade so far), there is a repeated motif of “It’s not the plane. It’s the pilot.”

It culminates in the climactic battle when Maverick and Rooster end up an old F-14 up against multiple state of the art, fifth generation enemy fighters.

Rooster inspires Maverick to do some of that pilot s#!t by saying, “It’s not the plane. It’s the pilot.”

Very exciting. Very dramatic. Very awesome!

So, maybe it is the pilot?

I’ve also been watching Drive to Survive lately on Netflix. That’s the reality series about Formula One and the stories behind the races.

Many stories focus on the drivers and their skill and confidence and how they drive the car.

But they also talk about the importance of the car.

The best driver in the worst car cannot win.

The worst driver in the best car cannot win.

Only the best driver in the best car can win.

Which brings us to networking

I recently heard someone say that the most important thing in finding success in a networking group is “self initiative.” A good networker with the right mindset and techniques who takes the initiative to take the right action can find success in any networking group.

Technically this is true.

No matter what group you are in, if you take initiative to make connections, provide value, develop relationships, and get introductions, you will eventually be successful.

Anyone you meet can connect you to people who can connect you to people who can give you anything might possibly want.

Likewise, you could put Max Verstappen in my Honda Civic out on a Formula One racetrack, and he’ll get all the way from the starting grid to the finish line.

But he’ll get there a lot faster in an F1 race car.

It’s the pilot AND the plane.

If you don’t have self initiative, if you aren’t a go giver, if you don’t know how to ask for what you want, it doesn’t matter what room I put you in. You won’t have success.

However, if you do have self initiative, if you are a go giver, if you do know how to ask for what you want, then you will do better in a great, well structured networking space full of the right people

Can you be successful in any networking group? Yes.

But with tens of thousands of options of spaces to network in, why would you spend your time in a group that does not have the people you need to meet?

Why would you spend your time in a group that isn’t structured well?

This is why I created JV Connect

I created JV Connect because I want to put the best pilots in the best planes. 

I want to see what happens when we put abundance minded, successful, effective people into a space that maximizes connections, facilitates relationships, and does everything possible to make awesome things happen.

And then, I want to create a space where you don’t have to be Pete “Maverick” Mitchell or Charles Leclerc to be successful because the event is structured to guide you to do the right things in the right way.

JV Connect is December 12th and 13th, and you can get into the cockpit here.

Niching the Right Way to Serve the Right People

In the summer of 2015, I found myself in the Emergency Room. My sciatica was so bad that I could not walk and could barely move.

I went to chiropractors, and they could do nothing. A physical therapist was able to get it from debilitating to manageable, but certainly not able to fix it.

As it turned out a combination of short hamstrings and tendons combined with weak core strength (the result of too much sitting and not enough exercise) led to the symptoms. 

The PT gave me a very effective set of exercises to get me from non-functional to functional.

And not a step beyond that.

Continue reading “Niching the Right Way to Serve the Right People”

Why I’m so Transparent in my Emails

The secret to the quality of my emails is that I’m lazy.

You know those emails that you don’t like. The ones that are generic and salesy. The ones that identify a generic problem that you may or may not have, then they agitate that problem, then they make an amazing offer while delivering no value?

Those are super hard to write. There’s a whole formula and process.

They are part of big fancy funnels with all kinds of technology, tracking, trigger links, and landing pages.

Want to know my process?

Continue reading “Why I’m so Transparent in my Emails”

Why Monthly Emails Have More Unsubscribes

A joint venture expert once told me that when you promote a partner’s launch you should expect 5-8% of your list to unsubscribe.

This expert also told me that every email you send will cause list attrition, so you should send email sparingly.

I was impressed by the fact that this expert could make so much money using email while understanding it so poorly.

The infrequent email fallacy

Let’s say you have an email list that you don’t mail to often, and this list came from colder sources like giveaways or freebie swaps.

You send an email to them announcing your latest webinar, and 2% of your list melts away.

You send another, and another 2% wanders off.

You promote a launch with a series of 8 emails, and 8% more exits stage right.

Holy moley! These guys are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship. You better send less emails to preserve your list.

It’s a reasonable conclusion… except it’s wrong.

As you may be aware, I mail my list daily. Out of over 2300 members, the last three emails had 6, 3, and 1 unsubscription respectively.

What’s really happening?

There’s a few things going on under the numbers here.

The first is that there’s a group of people who get on your list who don’t want to be there. They signed up for a freebie, and that’s all they want. They are customers but they are one and one. They signed up for an event, but not for you.

These people are going to unsubscribe the first time they see an email. If you send daily emails, they’ll leave pretty quick, but if you send monthly or occasional emails, they might linger for many months because they don’t see your messages.

Thus, when you do send a few emails together, they will all unsubscribe at once making it seem like a mass exodus, when it’s really just people who never wanted to be there in the first place.

Then, there is a group of people who were interested when they signed up, but they forgot who you are. By the time they get your rare message, they don’t remember signing up, so they feel like they were subscribed involuntarily, and they leave.

Additionally, if you reserve your email activity for the most “valuable” uses then you may end up sending nothing but pitches, so these people leave because they signed up to get your knowledge and vibe, but what they receive is offers, mostly offers for products of strangers.

The solution

You will never avoid unsubscribes completely unless you never send emails.

However, the best way to make sure the right people stick around is to give them high value frequently.

Every email that you send should contain value.

Yes, I said “every.”

Value doesn’t have to mean not making an offer, but it does mean that every email reminds your audience of why they signed up in the first place.

It could be that you teach them something.

It could be your unique style of writing.

It could be a recommendation, invitation, or offer they will find interesting.

Sure, you could preserve your pristine list by never sending an email, but what good is that?

It doesn’t help you because if you ever do use it, your audience will flee.

It doesn’t help your audience because they signed up to get value, not to be stored in a museum.

As they say, a ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.

If you want to preserve your audience, then serve your audience.


This was originally shared out through my highly valuable, very interesting, and not-monthly Resource Letter. If you’d like to receive content like this every day, and get my Power5 Networking Tips, just sign up below…

The Monthly Newsletter Myth: Why Sending More Emails gets Less Unsubscribes

One of my agency clients recently asked me to write a monthly newsletter for one of their clients.

When I inquired as to why they wanted a monthly newsletter, I was told that the client wanted to minimize unsubscribes.

This makes a lot of sense as a motivation…
…except that it’s wrong.

This common but incorrect conclusion is built on three false underlying assumptions…

Continue reading “The Monthly Newsletter Myth: Why Sending More Emails gets Less Unsubscribes”

In the Image of God

Rowan, my 9 year old daughter, says many wise things. 

Some on purpose, others unintentionally.

A friend recommended that I should listen to a “Bible In a Year” program, and, always open to new ways to become inspired as I do my exercises, I started today.

My daughter happened to walk in as Nicky Gumbel was discussing how we are all made in God’s image.

To this, she made the sort of quip that 9 year olds are wont to do, that contains wisdom they do not realize.

She made a face and said, “It this in God’s image?”

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(Not the actual face the she made, but close enough for the story)

First, I chuckled at her expression.

At first, I was about to give the adult answer that, no, that’s not what it means.

But I stopped myself.

I paused to hear the wisdom in her childlike humor.

That is not all of what it means, but it is some of what it means.

That precisely the image of the God who created the platypus.

It is the image of the God who puts a hilarious billboard on the highway next to the traffic jam we are stuck in.

It is the face of God who, in the midst of our most serious and weighty world creates regular moments of levity, humor, and joy.

Take a look at your own face.

(Take a selfie if you don’t have a mirror handy)

Created in the image of God that is.
Take a moment to think about that. 
Every wrinkle, blemish, and imperfection, created in the image of God.
All of your foibles, errors, mistakes, and weaknesses are created in the image of God.

And what if you don’t believe in God?

That’s okay. But even if you don’t, I encourage you to try this little exercise of looking at yourself and saying “That is in the image of God.”

Just try it on. See how you like it.

No need to take it too seriously. It’s just some advice out of an email from some guy.

Maybe make a funny face while you do it.

Did you know I produce a daily podcast called Morning Motivation?

It’s true, and it’s a lot of stuff like this: thoughts to get you motivated in the morning (thus the name)

You can find it here.

SEO and Networking

Brandon Leibowitz asked me to share this article for him. SEO is all about backlinks, so it’s an easy way to help him out, and my audience might learn something, so here you go!

How Would You Tie SEO to Networking

In the vast realm of the digital landscape, where websites jostle for attention like eager vendors in a bustling marketplace, the art of SEO strategies for networking emerges as a beacon of connection. Imagine your website as a charismatic storyteller and SEO as its megaphone, broadcasting its tales far and wide across the bustling crowds of the internet. But here’s the twist: this storyteller doesn’t just want an audience; it wants connections, interactions, and relationships. This is where the synergy of SEO and networking comes into play, weaving a narrative that’s not only discoverable but also intimately engaging.

The Dance of Algorithms and Relationships

Picture this: You’ve just launched a captivating website, a virtual art gallery showcasing your mesmerizing paintings. You’ve adorned it with alluring keywords like a gallery hung with the finest masterpieces. Now, what? Well, it’s time to beckon the search engine crawlers, those digital bees that buzz around, collecting nectar in the form of keywords to pollinate search results. This is where your SEO strategy takes its first steps in the grand dance.

But wait, isn’t this article about networking? Absolutely, and here’s where the twist comes in. Imagine if your art gallery not only captured the attention of those curious bees but also enticed art enthusiasts, critics, and fellow painters to mingle amidst your digital canvases. That’s networking in the virtual realm. Your SEO keywords serve as the opening lines of introduction, while your networking efforts are the vibrant conversations that keep the art connoisseurs returning for more.

Content: The Magnetic Host

To intertwine SEO and networking seamlessly, consider your website as a grand hosting event. The heart of this soirée? High-quality content. Just as a charismatic host can make or break a gathering, your content plays a pivotal role. It’s not just about stuffing keywords; it’s about crafting an engaging narrative that resonates with your audience. For instance, if your website revolves around pet care tips, your content should be a delightful mix of informative advice and heartwarming anecdotes about your own furry companions.

Here’s where SEO waltzes in. Sprinkle those strategic keywords naturally throughout your content – in titles, introductions, and sprinkled like confetti throughout. But remember, just like a host wouldn’t bombard their guests with the same topic, don’t overstuff keywords. It’s like adding too much spice to a dish – a little enhances the flavor, but too much ruins it.

The Art of Linking

Imagine you’re at a glamorous gala, where every person you meet introduces you to someone new, expanding your circle and creating potential collaborations. In the digital realm, these introductions are akin to backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites that direct visitors to your site. They not only drive traffic directly but also indicate to search engines that your site is credible and relevant.

Let’s say you run a blog offering gardening tips. If a renowned horticulturist links to your blog when discussing practical gardening techniques, that’s like a glowing recommendation from an expert at the gardening gala. It’s a nod that can make search engines like Google raise an intrigued eyebrow at your website, potentially boosting your rankings.

The Social Media Shindig

Ah, social media – the bustling bazaar of the digital age. Just like a lively street market, social media platforms are teeming with people, conversations, and opportunities. This is where networking transcends the confines of your website and ventures into the vast realm of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Let’s say you have a fashion blog. Sharing your latest post about vintage fashion finds on your social accounts is like hosting a fashion show. As your friends and followers applaud and share, the spotlight on your post intensifies. This is where our keyword, “SEO strategies for networking,” takes center stage. Your social media captions and updates should elegantly weave in these keywords, enhancing their visibility. It’s like whispering secrets at a party – people lean in to hear what’s intriguing.

The Ripple Effect

Imagine dropping a pebble into a pond and watching the ripples spread. Networking, too, has a ripple effect. Engaging with your audience isn’t a monologue; it’s a dynamic exchange. Respond to comments on your blog posts, engage in conversations on social media, and participate in relevant forums or online communities.

Now, think of each of these interactions as a ripple. The more ripples you create, the broader the impact on your network. As these ripples extend outward, they also reach the shores of search engines. This is where the magic happens. The more your content is shared and engaged with, the more search engines interpret it as valuable and relevant, potentially pushing it higher up in search results.

Conclusion: The Unbreakable Bond

In this journey where SEO and networking entwine like dance partners, remember that it’s not about mere coexistence. It’s about building an unbreakable bond. Your SEO strategies illuminate the path, while networking enriches the experience. So, how would you tie SEO to networking? It’s like weaving a tapestry, where keywords and connections thread together to create an intricate, captivating narrative.

As we conclude our exploration, imagine your website not as a static entity but as a living, breathing entity that thrives on connections. Much like the fragile ecosystem of a coral reef, where each creature relies on others for sustenance and survival, your website flourishes when nourished by the synergy of SEO and networking.

And now, as a parting gift, a treasure map to further insights awaits you at SEO strategies for networking. Go forth, explore, and continue the journey of weaving your own masterpiece in the digital realm. Just remember, the dance of SEO and networking is ongoing – a rhythm that harmonizes discovery and connection.

As we bid adieu, may your website’s symphony echo far and wide, a testament to the artistry of tying SEO to networking.


Brandon Leibowitz is the founder of SEO Optimizers, a Digital Marketing Agency in Los Angeles, California. He is also the founder of Bosmol.com, a social media news log. He has been involved with search engine optimization and internet marketing since 2007.